Khamzat Chimaev may not have officially committed to fighting as a middleweight yet, but that hasn’t stopped Chael Sonnen from considering how the unbeaten fighter fits into the division’s title picture.
“Borz” currently holds the #4 spot in the UFC’s welterweight rankings, but his future in that division was thrown into doubt after he egregiously missed weight for his last fight against Nate Diaz. The two fighters were supposed to headline UFC 279, but following Chimaev’s weight miss he ended up facing Kevin Holland in a co-main event catchweight bout while Diaz took on Tony Ferguson in the night’s main event.
Chimaev fought at middleweight several times before joining the UFC, and it seemed as if the promotion might be interested in booking him against #5-ranked Paulo Costa after the two went back-and-forth online. Following the news that Costa will be fighting at UFC 291 and the UFC will be returning to Australia in September, Sonnen wants to know what the promotion’s plans for Chimaev are.
“You’ve got Chimaev with an open dance card, and you have Dana [White] over the weekend announcing a new deal with Australia, and the only piece of information he gives us is a month, which in this case was September,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “And a main eventer, which in this case was Israel Adesanya. So we broke up Chimaev’s fight and made Chimaev available…Nobody has made a connection here, nobody has even hinted or rumored at a connection here, not until right now.”
Chael Sonnen Speculates On Khamzat Chimaev’s Status Ahead Of UFC 293
The winner of the upcoming bout between Dricus Du Plessis and former champion Robert Whittaker is expected to be the likely next middleweight title challenger, however “The Reaper” is in a difficult position after previously losing to Adesanya twice.
The first meeting between Whittaker and “The Last Stylebender” headlined UFC 243 in Australia, but Sonnen is interested to see what kind of direction the UFC decides to go with for their return to the country at UFC 293.
“Now we’ve been told in no uncertain terms, very explicitly we were told that Chimaev will have to do one fight at  successfully before he can be in talks of a title shot. But now we have a date and a venue and a champion, and now we have a top guy where they broke up a fight, who’s now available. And they’re talking about getting Du Plessis or Robert Whittaker and getting one of them available to take on Izzy…We don’t have to wonder who’s gonna win that fight. So Robert Whittaker’s gonna come out of that fight, he’s gonna eliminate the top contender that the champion wants…Do we want to do [Adesanya vs. Whittaker], and if we do do that, what do we do with Chimaev?”
The UFC’s middleweight division was briefly turned on its head after Alex Pereira defeated Adesanya at UFC 281, but “The Last Stylebender” reclaimed his title in their rematch at UFC 287. Adesanya had already defended the belt on five occasions during his first reign as champion, and many fans are hoping to see some fresh faces challenge the 33-year-old now that he’s atop the middleweight mountain once again.
Read Also: Khamzat Chimaev Contradicts Dana White’s Comments About Delayed Return: “I Would’ve Fought A Long Time Ago”
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